I think that Gordon Brown has been a terrible chancellor, and is a terrible prime minister. He has stolen from the taxpayer, and got away with it (those not at the top would have found themselves prosecuted). Yet I still feel sorry for him in this latest furore, which erupted after Mr. Brown forgot to remove a microphone, and so was overheard labelling a woman a bigot after she had complained to him about immigration.
Politicians, especially party leaders, are scrutinised all the time. The media obsess over errors, or potential errors, which leads to meaningless sound bites and staged apologies, while larger issues are left in the background. I didnâ€™t bother to watch either of the leadersâ€™ debates because I knew no usual information would come out of them, which is a sad reflection on how issues are debated in this country. This story is now the main headline on the BBC news website, and doubtless is so for other media outlets. But this shouldn’t be a big story.
Gordon Brown got annoyed with someone. I do. You do. Everyone does. He voiced his frustrations in private (or so he thought), and was rude. He has probably been rude about member of the public, but hasn’t bothered to make a public apology, which shows how contrived the whole episode was. People rightly hold politicians to certain standards on issues such as expenses, but we shouldn’t expect them to be immune to emotions like annoyance and fatigue, especially in private, unless they themselves avoid such pitfalls.
(For a humorous take on the matter, see this mock twitter feed)
I’ve always believed that Islamists living in liberal democracies eventually realise that their tub-thumping ways are no use, and end up joining the system. Of course, fringer nutters remain, but that general theory holds. A prime example is Inayat Bunglwala – from the Muslim Council of Britain – who eventually started writing articles and expressing views that most Guardian CIF readers found hard to diasgree with.
Yesterday Anas Altkriti, another tub-thumper of yesteryear, wrote this sensible article for CIF pointing out that Muslims have (shock horror!) quite ordinary concerns when it comes to making political decisions. It’s for this reason I’ve never bought the neo-con ‘Islamists-under-your-bed!‘ view that Islamists should be marginalised as much as possible. It assumes they can’t learn from us.
But I suspect many political Muslims get annoyed when such articles imply Muslims are just like anyone else, because in their minds that’s still not true.
[Disclaimer: All characters and events in this article -- even those based on real people -- are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated.....poorly. The following article contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone]
The Chairman of the BNP is interviewed by Jermyn Pacman on the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme “Newsniteâ”.
That is over 10x the Tea Party rallies and yet it’s the latter that get all the attention. Why? Because people and the media are afraid of the Tea Party people. Those people are angry. Environmentalists on the other hand smile at each other and hug. Which is nice, for about five minutes, but what happened to the effigies people? What happened to the openly-visible firearms?
I’m only half joking. The unwillingness of many ‘environmentalists’ to get angry and take some direct action is why the media attention and public pressure is near zero. This is why I have more respect for groups like Climate Rush, Climate Chaos and Plane Stupid.
We’re all mongrels. I mean, this country is the most mongrel country in the world. In fact it’s the country with the most mixed-race relationships in the world. In 200 years we’ll all be coffee-coloured – and I’ve got no problem with that.
And why should anyone get outraged over that? It looks like the editors at ConHome, for all their anti-racist rhetoric, aren’t quite so keen on inter-racial mixing. Lord save us if we all become coffee-coloured! OMG! They really are desperate.
2. On a related note here is Dan Hannan MEP realising that being a fan of people-power isn’t so fun when public opinion is against you.
What? WHAT? Did she know that Nick Clegg wanted to offer citizenship to anyone who managed to stay ahead of our immigration service for ten years? What kind of signal did she think that an amnesty would send to other potential sans-papiers?
As I’ve said before – when it comes to immigration the Tories really do go completely bonkers. Here’s another self-described libertarian who is anything but. Here is another ‘compassionate Tory’ who is anything but. Daniel Hannan doesn’t have principles, he is just good at speaking. When it comes to the crunch, he’s another little-Englander Tory.
Two reasons why the Libdems cannot rest easy [Guardian]
It’s in the interests of Lib Dems to play up their position in the polls – after all they’ve never been taken more seriously. That means fewer people who think that voting Lib Dem is a “wasted vote”. But Clegg still faces two challenges that will reduce his party’s vote on polling day. And he must take action to deal with them now.
The right hand of God [New Statesman]
You could be forgiven for thinking that the David Cameron project has been striking in its unwillingness to say much about faith. None of the inner circle of Cameron, George Osborne, Andy Coulson and Steve Hilton is regarded as particularly religious, and avoiding the subject is part of the Tory detoxification project. Yet there are signs that a change is afoot.
South Parkhas been censored again after attempting to mock some its favourite targets, including religious figures and Tom Cruise. The controversy came after they showed Muhammad in a bear suit, which led to two people posting a death threat on a well-known extremist Islamist website. Given the history of agent provocateurs on Muslim websites who stir up trouble, there was always the possibility that this was just an attempt to make Muslims look bad, but it seems that the posters were ‘genuine’ Muslims. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, pointed out the hypocrisy of some (including Comedy Central) when they noted that they had depicted Muhammad before, in an episode where the Islamic prophet teams up with other religious figures in order to defeat an out of control David Blaine, without stirring up much anger. Only after the publication of the Danish ‘Motoon’ cartoons did non-Muslim depictions of Muhammad become a lot more controversial.
People have rightly focused on the threat to free speech that this represents, and the need to re-emphasize that religious beliefs are no more entitled to protection than any other point of view. Yet it also is another excuse to smear Muslims. Comedy Central, which broadcasts South Park, censored the episode after one death threat on one website. Understandable from their perspective, but it is the equivalent of censoring something because a drunkard in a pub was overheard threatening the show’s creators. I doubt that many Muslims like that Muhammad is being depicted, but neither are millions posting death threats and rioting. As Zahed Amanullah points out, the threats were made by two converts who apparently aren’t even welcome in most mosques.
The right to mock and satirise has to be absolute; there cannot be compromise on this even if people are offended. No one has a right to have their views placed beyond satire, but nor should the reaction of less than a handful of fringe extremists be used to demonstrate that all Muslims are rabid killers who want to murder anyone who mocks them or their religion.
Sikh police officers who wear turbans cannot join firearms teams, following a ruling from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).
Officers can choose instead to wear a smaller head covering known as a patka, which will fit under a helmet.
The Acpo guidance follows consultations with the Home Office and a range of police associations representing Sikhs.
Sounds sensible to me frankly, can anyone see the problem with this?
Marmite is beginning legal action against the British National Party after an image of a Marmite jar was used on a political broadcast without its permission, the company said.
“It has been brought to our attention that the British National Party has included a Marmite jar in a political broadcast shown currently online. ‘We want to make it absolutely clear that Marmite did not give the BNP permission to use a pack shot of our product in their broadcast. Neither Marmite nor any other Unilever brand are aligned to any political party.
”We are currently initiating injunction proceedings against the BNP to remove the Marmite jar from the online broadcast and prevent them from using it in future.”
Iâ€™ve picked up news that the BNP is planning some sort of St Georgeâ€™s Day parade in Barking on Friday morning. It fact, it may well turn out to be their election launch despite them telling the press that it will be in Stoke-on-Trent. Perhaps they are having two launches.
In previous years local BNP leader Richard Barnbrook has ridden through the East London borough on a white horse. Griffin it appears is not impressed and is telling those around him that in no circumstances must Barnbrook ride the horse.
With Griffin being criticised over the poor election campaign itâ€™ll be interesting to know who carries the day.
A horse ban?? It’s political correctness gawn maaaad!
The BNPâ€™s ongoing assertions about â€œEnglish indigenousnessâ€ have some interesting ramifications, particularly in the context of claims of primacy, dominance and territorial â€œownershipâ€ based on the notion of â€œwe were here firstâ€. The first inhabitants of the British Isles were the group now termed â€œCeltsâ€ as per the accepted definition in mainstream British discourse, and as a result, Celts and people exclusively descended from them are actually the only genuinely â€œindigenousâ€ inhabitants of the British Isles.
Personally, my instinct is anybody claiming to be a community leader should automatically be disqualified from being so, but that can unfairly denigrate the valuable work of some committed individuals who deserve such a title.
However, I have an issue with decrees on how Muslims should vote coming from organisations such as MPAC, an outfit that frequently labels those not sharing its myopic worldview as â€˜Zionist scumâ€™ or â€˜coconut sell-outsâ€™.
Meanwhile Roshan Muhammed Salih, the London head of news for Iranâ€™s state-funded Press TV, issued instructions that all Muslims should vote solely on foreign policy grounds – specifically Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to Salih, â€œevery single election issue, including the economy, education and health, pales in comparisonâ€ to the Iraq war.
I recently wrote of the Sunday Times story that claimed the Met had ‘allowed Islamic protesters to throw shoes’. Watch how the story travelled around.
The article was taken up and publicised by Douglas Murray, who wrote a blog post about the story on the Telegraph’s website entitled, ‘The police encourage Muslims to throw shoes at them? Just what community relations needed’.
There will, some day, be a terrible reckoning for all of this. Perhaps it will start when thugs from another religion decide to carry out acts of violence in public and cite the Muslim precedent as their prompt. Perhaps it will happen when the police are confronted with gangs of people of no faith at all wondering why it is illegal for someone who is not a Muslim to injure police but perfectly legal if you are a Muslim who pretends to feel really strongly about something.
Someone has done a study to back up what I’ve always been saying. And guess what, I bet none of the papers who claim to hate the BNP will report on this ippr study:
The British National Party (BNP) frequently suggests that it attracts support because it is the only party to take into account communitiesâ€™ â€˜realâ€™ experiences of immigration.
ippr has explored whether or not this is the case by looking at the roots of BNP support across 149 local authorities. We conducted regression-based analysis to see whether or not high levels of immigration do raise communitiesâ€™ support for the BNP, or if other variables â€“ such as political disengagement â€“ are important.
Our findings suggest that areas that have higher levels of recent immigration than others are not more likely to vote for the BNP.
I have been reading Demosâ€™ recently published report, The Edge of Violence: a radical approach to extremism. The report focused on radicalism and terrorism in Muslim communities in Europe and Canada, and examined the relationship and difference between non-violent radicals and radicals who are terrorists. The reports shows the difference between non-violent radicals (who, for example, might call for a Caliphate but don’t advocate a violent revolution) and radicals who become terrorists or support terrorism in the West. With these findings, the report’s authors make some recommendations on how Al-Qaeda inspired/linked terrorism can be combated the West, and how British Muslims can be turned from this path; this is what I am going to focus on.
The report found that non-violent radicals (henceforth radicals) often have a greater understanding of Islamic jurisprudence to support their views, while terrorists tended to quote and misquote selectively from a few sources, including the Qur’an. The authors recommend a greater focus on open debate about Islamic theological issues, as has been tried in countries like Saudi Arabia. This would take place not just in the media but at a local level, in town halls, mosques and in similar venues. This seems like a good idea, as we rarely see experts in Islamic theology on our screens or in our newspapers, with the media preferring to give space to extremist voices who then become representative of Islam in the eyes of some on the public. We on Pickled Politics have found that this has worked with the likes of the BNP, who like to avoid detailed challenges to their policies and ideologies, instead preferring to focus on broad, simplistic slogans.
Rather coincidentally to recent discussions on immigration, and email dropped into my inbox the other day.
We are two British wives of Moroccan nationals that are fighting for the right of our menfolk to come to the UK to be with our families here. We have both had our husbands refused due to our circumstances here in the UK… but our circumstances are similiar to other foreign immigrants that seem to be getting their spouses into the UK… So we are not happy.
Here’s their blog & website. I wish them all the best in their campaign. As I’ve said numerous times – this is the impact of all those people who keep arguing that Britain is ‘soft touch’ on immigration.
Fifteen years after the Oklahoma City bombing, the spectre of domestic terrorism has returned to haunt the Obama Administration, with a warning from the FBI that â€œhome-grown and lone-wolf extremistsâ€ now represent as serious a threat as al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
The warning, from the FBI Director, Robert Mueller, came as the former President Clinton drew parallels between the Oklahoma City tragedy and a recent upsurge in anti-government rhetoric, while American television audiences heard Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, describe the â€œabsolute rageâ€ that drove him to plan an attack that killed 168 men, women and children.
When the head of the FBI says that – it’s time to start listening. Rumbold has highlighted some British cases as well recently. But this seems to be a far, far bigger issue in the United States. Although I don’t suppose many neo-cons, with their Muslim obsession, will listen. When the SPLC published a report saying this a few months ago there, conservatives played it down. No doubt they’ll do the same again now.